Iron Man technology could help save lives


At least one part of Iron Man’s suit may soon become a reality.
A real-life version of Tony Stark’s augmented reality display has been developed by researchers.

In the Iron Man movies Tony Stark’s high-tech suit is capable of overlaying helpful information about his surroundings on to what he is seeing to give him an advantage over his adversaries.

While most of the technology employed by the billionaire philanthropist is still rooted firmly in the realms of science fiction, researchers in the UK have succeeded in developing a similar kind of augmented reality display that could prove invaluable in a number of real world scenarios.

The system, which will be revealed in detail at this week’s summer science exhibition in London, relies on a special microscopic slide which converts light from a camera in to a hologram.

“This optical technology is a game-changer for the development of augmented-reality devices,” said Simon Hall, the lead scientist in adaptive optics at the National Physical Laboratory.

“The applications for devices that allow people to view the world around them overlaid with data relevant to what they are seeing are endless.”

Examples of this include enabling firefighters to see an infrared view of a smoke-filled room or giving surgeons the ability to view crucial information during a complex operation.

“We’ve all seen Tony Stark’s view of the world when he wears his Iron Man suit – information about his world projected in his line of sight,” said Dr Hall. “Now we’ll be able to experience it for ourselves.”